HSBC Direct Review

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HSBC AdvanceHSBC Direct has usually had one of the most competitive interest rates, so I opened an account there. I didn’t open it because I was planning on moving funds from a 2.70% ING Direct account, I did it because the cost of opening an online savings account was near zero and because I could then start funneling income deposited into a 0% Bank of America checking account into the new HSBC Direct account. It doesn’t make much sense to move funds from ING or Emigrant to HSBC, but it does make sense to change the destination of funds from Bank of America.

There were a few other non-financial reasons for opening the account. First, there’s no marginal cost to opening another savings account. HSBC has a well known international name and has consistently been among the leaders in interest rates. I would be hesitant to open an account at a lesser known bank. HSBC’s international presence is also a benefit. When we were in China and Taiwan, HSBC was everywhere (along with Citigroup) and that’s a side benefit. Lastly, my mom has an HSBC account, in part because of the China and Taiwan presence, and having that link is convenient as well.

Opening An HSBC Account

The HSBC account opening process is quick and painless (~10 minutes), though it requires more information than most banks because they try to set up everything in one pass. You start by giving the typical personal information all banks ask including social security number. They do a quick inquiry and ask you for three items from your credit history. Then, you get the option of linking a bank account right there.

They verify your bank account by requesting your login credentials and then login. My bank account was linked within seconds (and the transfer was initiated). No more waiting 3-5 business days for two small deposits, the verification process is done right there. Very nice touch.

After about two days, HSBC starts sending you emails (there are quite a few) about your registration, how to log on and set up your account for the first time. Specifically, they’ll email you a link to the Internet Banking Activation page and a registration code, but don’t bother going trying to activate until you get your temporary password by postal mail. Yeah, they mail your temporary password by pony express.

In all fairness, the letter got here pretty quickly. I opened my account on June 4th, received my temporary registration number by email on June 6th, and received the temporary password on June 7th (the letter was dated June 5th). However, because of the mail, any time that was shaved off in the bank linking portion is now definitely lost waiting for a password via mail (probably why they do that). It’s all done in the name of security but it strikes me as a bit unnecessary and overkill.

From here, you go to the activation page, enter in those codes, set up your account access credentials (which includes a username, password, and security key that must be entered by on-screen keyboard), enter two security questions, and you’re in! (whew!)

Bank to Bank Transfers

HSBC Bank to Bank Transfer PageOne of the features of online savings accounts that was once allowed but now stopped by many online banks was the ability to link online savings accounts. I used to have my Emigrant Direct and my ING Direct linked together so a transfer took only a handful of days, but about a year ago they severed the tie and began requiring paper checks to link accounts together.

Well, I was curious as to whether HSBC would let me link up with ING Direct and they did! I submitted a request through the Bank to Bank Transfer online form, HSBC made two trial deposits to my ING Derect account, I verified the transaction and the link was created. It’s important to remember that Federal Reserve Regulation D limits the number of transactions on a savings account to six a month, so I just expended two in the verification process.

Quicken & Money Data Support

Quicken and MS Money data addicts users will be happy to know that HSBC Direct offers support for both applications (for Quicken, you get Windows and Mac version support).

Thoughts

HSBC Bank to Bank Transfer PageAt the moment, I’ve been playing a little with my account and it seems pretty standard compared to other online savings accounts I’ve had. The one noticeable difference is that it’s not as sleek as the ING Direct interface and there doesn’t seem to be any way for me to easily create additional accounts. Of course, only ING Direct offers that option at the moment so it’s not like HSBC is really inferior to peers.

Overall I’m pleased with HSBC Direct so far.

Here’s another, incredibly comprehensive, HSBC Direct review written by your good friend and mine, Cap.


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38 Responses to “HSBC Direct Review”

  1. Meg says:

    I have been with HSBC Direct for three + years with online checking and savings accounts. I am extremely irritated and frustrated that I am ready to change banks, solely because it is not possible to contact customer service by phone. I have never been able to get through their line and have held on waiting for a representative as long as 1/2 hour. Each time I am forced to go to the local branch to get anything answered. Just now, my phone battery went dead from waiting so long. Unbelievable! Talk about customer service? What service. It’s non existent. On Monday I will have to take time off to go to the local bank and my question answered. I have never seen anything like this with any other bank or service business for that matter.

  2. Aruna says:

    HSBC provides the worst customer service. I called HSBC today to ask if any payment has been made from my account for 75 pounds, and they said to answer my question, i need to pass my security questions.

    I have answered all questions correct, except recent transaction. I informed him that the reason for my call is to know about recent transaction from my account and that i dont remember if i have used my card.

    The customer service advisor was so rude to me and said he would not discuss with me further.

  3. Christopher says:

    I have been in international banking for over 25 years and have never seen any bank worse than HSBC. I have waited from 3 to 6 days for wire transfers between 2 HSBC banks through HSBC Net. And we are talking of transfers in excess of $100,000. And their exchange rates are ludicrous. Their excuses are beyond belief. Here are a few: 1) “we were waiting for the hard copy of the transfer” – this on a transfer made on the internet through HSBC Net. This transfer for over $100,000 took 6 days. 2) “We use a 2 day forward rate to get you a better rate.” When I asked why they didn’t use the spot rate they waffled. 3) “The reason it took 6 days was an anomaly. It will never happen again.” It happened the next week. Almost every transfer that was supposed to arrive on Friday didn’t get to us until Monday.
    We have since switched to a different bank and transfers are received the same day. And the exchange rate differential is half of HSBC.
    Do not walk away from HSBC – RUN!!!

  4. Holly says:

    HSBC is absolutley the worst finnancing institution!! I have a 2008 quad finnanced through them that was stolen in Feb 2010. My insurance company is USAA wich is a military focused company, has been trying to pay HSBC for my stolen vehicle since March 2010. It is not the end of September and nothing has been resolved. HSBC will not take he payment! I have sent in power of attorney, as well as many other documents. My insurance company has express mailed a check directly to HSBC wich they did not accept. I am being charged late fees and this has hit my credit. I have been very patient with the company, with the only result of being completley disrespected by the employees. Being disconnected, hung up on. HSBC has also treated my insurane agaent the same way. Being a Veteran of the US Army I do not appreciate this treatment. I highly recomend going with a differnt agency. It will save you alot of stress and money.

  5. david says:

    i started banking with hsbc when i became an expat in asia. i have never in my life had such bad customer service. i have too many issues to list them all but i am writing this to let others know if you are thinking of banking with them….DONT!!!! go elsewhere. it will save you getting frustrated and shaking your head in disbelief.

  6. Fred says:

    I’ve had an HSBC Direct savings account since shortly after they began offering them. Great deal, and never a hitch. The web site was a bit clunky, but has improved. The phone-mail at Customer Service is still pretty exhausting, but once I got thru, when needed, all went very well.

    If you’re in the Northeast, try the M&T e-money market account, as well. The rate is lower, for the time being, but they let you make teller transactions free — HSBC does not.

  7. Joseph says:

    WE have nothing good to say about this bank.We have been trying to modify are second loan for the past year and a half.They have bad customer service.We will never deal with this bank ever again.You will be sorry down the road if you deal with this bank.They all say that this bank wants to help people,but it is not true!!!!.this bank is cold hearted,and if you think they care,you are wrong.There are much better banks out there to deal with.Bank of america has done soo much for us.On a scale for one to ten,we give this bank a big fat zero!!!!!!

  8. Garry says:

    There are much better institutions than HSBC. They are fee happy when you travel and charge high ATM fees AND a give a very poor exchange rate without explanation!

    I have left HSBC!!!

  9. TP says:

    Complaint when calling 1-800-975-4722:

    Reason: need bank statement from April 18 to May 18 (prior to the transferring to 1st Niagara)

    - 1st representative said there is NO WAY I can get my bank statement and refused to transfer me to another representative.
    - I called again, 2nd representative said she can’t help and HUNG UP on me.
    - I called 1st Niagara bank. They transferred me and the 3rd representative confirmed my address and said he’ll send the last 6 months of my statements home for me.

    For your information, I did NOT in any way raised my voice or offended the representatives. I was only begging them to help me find a way to get my statement since I really need it.

    I am so glad I am NOT with your bank anymore!
    However, I’ll make sure I’ll give this review on every site I could and will tell everyone I know about this.
    PS. I never heard a representative HUNG UP on their customer before!


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